For sick people like me, horror movies were a staple of my formative years. and when it came to zombie movies I loved the Italian stuff. This wasn’t to say that I didn’t love the films George Romero was making but for pure nastiness and weirdness the Italians were where it was at. The plots didn’t make a lot of sense, sure, but darn those were some fun movies. They were more about tone, and chills than they were about plot, but for them, it worked. With Zombie Abomination and Zombie Atrocity director Thomas Berdinski is trying to capture some of that lost Italian magic, while tweaking it a little as he does.
After the military buries the product of a failed experiment in the hopes of hiding what they were up to they only end up creating a dangerous threat to the world in the form of the living dead. Reanimated soldiers begin to rise and devour people in the most horrible of ways. When an ex-soldier’s twin brother is killed mysteriously he decides he will stop at nothing to find the truth behind his brother’s death. Little does he know though that there are forces working against him, forces that will stop at nothing to keep the secret of the living dead a secret.
Zombies, harlots, rednecks, militia, aliens – you name it and it is in there. This is a loving homage to the living dead films yesteryear, it is hard to deny the charm here. The character’s are named after actors or directors of the Italian genre classics, and some of the plot devices are clearly from some of the same films. Mixed in with the loving nods to the past there is a definite identity of its own that is created through the comedy that runs rampant here. This isn’t your average dour zombie movie but is one that takes stabs at itself and the rest of the genre. Sure, there is a lot of danger here, but much of it comes from the characters themselves, and it’s a wonder that any of them are left by the second film.
And it is fun, the characters are goofy, the gore is great, the zombies are very well done and have a creepy, unique look, and overall the film is well put together and well made.
The movies are not perfect though. Some of the jokes are a bit forced, some of the plot points are as clear as mud, and as fun as the movie is, it feels a bit long. As fun as the films were, it was just a lot to take in one bite. Sort of like going to a buffet with all kinds of food that you love and so you dig in and get a stomach ache from trying to eat it all at once. It is a heck of an achievement to have one movie let alone two, and it says a lot about director Berdinski and his crew that they were able to pull this off. And darn it, I give it up to anyone that can make a movie like this and not revert to useless and easy nudity. It says a lot about Berdinski that he didn’t fall into that trap and I commend him on that.
I can’t say that the Italian masters would appreciate the jabs that these two films take at them but they are done so lovingly that it would be hard for fans to take any of it to heart. Only a true fan can craft a film with such absurdity and madness as these movies. If I had a wish it would be that it all flowed together more smoothly but the ambition behind this makes you forgive the few quibbles I had. And man, there is like an ocean of gore here, so grab your sailing hats friends, and hit the seas for Italy, just be careful of those zombies, they got a nasty bite radius.
7.5 out of 10
If you want to read more about Zombie Abomination and Zombie Atrocity head here for a trailer, and tons of fun stuff.